Bleak Unemployment Statistic for Black men

“Nationally, less than 60 percent of black men age 20 and older were employed in February, the lowest share since the government began tracking such data in 1972, and down from 66 percent a year earlier.”

This statistic jumped out at me from an article, Hanging on to hope on line,” written by Peter S. Goodman in the Boston Sunday Globe on April 5. 

How do you respond to a statistic like that?  What do you do with the feelings it brings up, specially as a Black woman who is the wife and mother and sister of Black men and is concerned about their well-being?

The article focuses on Raymond Vaughn of South Carolina who is studying at home for a career in medical billing.  He’s been unemployed since May.  He is quoted as saying “For me, it’s always been a recession.  I’ve always struggled to find work and pay my bills.”

The reporter frames Vaughn’s unemployment by saying “Prospects have been especially bleak for African-American men like Vaughn, who lacks a college degree and has long earned his living with his hands.

This recession/depression is wreaking havoc on everybody but, as usual, it hits poor people and people of color worse.  This particular recession/depression is hitting traditionally male jobs hard.

Oh, my brothers.  It is not only the non-degreed Black men who have been impacted by this economy.  A number of Black men I know who have degrees and years of dedicated, steady service in their various fields have been laid-off. 

If the reported statistic is that “unemployment is less than 60 percent for Black men,” I believe that the actual figure is higher.  This unemployment will ratchet up the deteriorating predicament in which many Black families and Black communities find themselves.

To quote the character Celie in the movie, The Color Purple, “What us gone do?  What…us…gone…do!”

I’ll rely on Jesse Jackson and keep hope alive.”  Come on Obama!

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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